A guy I really liked, John, asked me to go skiing for the day in Vermont, and I was thrilled! Being from Southern California, I was well acquainted with water-skiing but had no experience in the snow, so this would be an adventure.
I also had no snow gear to speak of, so John rented everything from the skis and boots to the all-day lift ticket, just for me. $150 later, we got to the slopes and boarded the lift… except I slipped off and fell from about 6 feet up, knocking the wind out of me.
John quickly hopped off and helped me out of the way of the oncoming lift chairs. Embarrassing! But we laughed awkwardly and carefully made our way to the back of the lift line to try again.
When we finally got on the lift together, it was breathtaking! Glorious!
As we climbed the mountain I accidentally scraped my right ski pole against one of the landing platforms and it bent in half. John smiled politely and said, “It’s OK.” I knew he would have to pay for that and I felt bad.
We got to the top of the mountain and I jumped off the lift chair, intending to land firmly on two feet and start skiing.
Hmmm…didn’t really work out that way. In fact, after landing I couldn’t even gain enough balance to stand up on both skis for more than a few seconds. I slipped back onto the snow repeatedly and began to attract attention from other more experienced skiers. A 4-year-old whizzed past me with a smirk as John looked on with embarrassment.
“Let me help you up!” he said, trying to encourage himself as well as me. I stood upright for a second…and then I slipped and brought him down with me.
The chair lift operator announced over the loud speaker, “She can’t ski. She can’t ski. Bring her back to the lift.”
John slid me back to the lift and for one of the rare times in the history of this Killington resort, the operator stopped the lift and we got back on the chair for the ride down the mountain. Upon arrival, John said with a sigh of resignation, “Ready for a drink?”
I learned a lot about myself as I began dating after my divorce, and in more ways than just realizing I needed snow skiing lessons. I realized that dating after being married was an entirely new ballgame, nothing like it had been before, and the annulment process had actually played a key role in preparing me to make better choices this time around than before I had married.
An eye opener
I admit, the annulment process was painful. I had to revisit memories I wanted to forget and dredge up hurtful aspects of my marriage. But what accompanied that pain was incredible healing and insight. The questionnaire I was given to fill out brought up issues that I hadn’t even considered. I vividly remember saying to myself, “Why didn’t anyone ask me this before we got married? I wouldn’t have done it in the first place!”
There was a wealth of information revealed in this process that changed me, helping me mature. I learned that, although I was a faithful spouse and fought for my marriage, I wasn’t a perfect spouse and I had contributed to the divorce in some ways. That was hard to swallow, but it was the truth and it helped me reflect upon myself and what I was bringing to a new relationship.
I stopped blaming everything on my ex-spouse and began a process of self-refinement. I knew I never wanted to go through a divorce again and I had to do some changing if I wanted a lasting relationship in the future.
The annulment process also helped me make better choices. In realizing what was wrong the first time, I could now easily avoid the mistakes I made in the past. I knew what was important to me this time and it wasn’t purely based on physical attraction or like circumstances.
I often refer to the annulment process as “the eighth sacrament” because of its healing nature. The baggage I was carrying with me from my first marriage was safely and gently stowed away and I was free to give myself to the right man, which I did on June 17, 2000. Tomorrow, we celebrate 11 happy years together.
I encourage you, if you haven’t considered the annulment process, to give it a second look before you decide to date. I know you will find the healing and closure that will make all the difference! My prayers for you!